During severe winter weather like we have this week, Metro Transit activates its Emergency Snow Network (ESN), a reduced network of bus routes and chained shuttles designed to serve the most riders in the safest way possible.
Metro’s ESN focuses bus service on main roadways that will be plowed and de-iced and avoids steep hills.
Metro will continue to operate the Emergency Snow Network this Tuesday, Dec. 28, due to ongoing freezing temperatures and difficult road conditions.
This means service is reduced to about 60 core bus routes that the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions prioritize for snow and ice removal.
Metro will reassess daily whether snow clearing efforts have adequately improved road conditions and if there is sufficient staffing and buses to restore service and operate the broader all-day transit network.
Riders who intend to use Metro’s services on Tuesday should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options. Please note that most routes in the ESN are operating on their snow routing.
Here’s more from Metro:
Access Paratransit currently provides only lifesaving and emergency trips depending on conditions and availability. On Monday, Access moved to the ESN to mirror bus service. Access’ main objective under the ESN is to provide life-sustaining medical transportation. During this time, customers who are not certified to use Access that need to connect to life-sustaining medical services can call 206-205-5000 to request services between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Access will also be working closely with bus service to help support customers who are stranded due to breakdowns or weather conditions.
On-demand services: Via to Transit in south Seattle and south King County, and Ride Pingo to Transit in Kent are temporarily not operating due to road conditions.
The Call Center is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 27-30 for trip planning and Lost & Found calls, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for ORCA, fare questions and customer comments.
We want to encourage riders to stay safe and take advantage of online and phone tools.
To enroll in reduced fare programs:
- Visit the Reduced Fare portal to apply for ORCA LIFT, Subsidized Annual Pass, Senior and Disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP), and ORCA Youth cards from home at reducedfare.kingcounty.gov.
- Call Public Health’s CHAP line for help with ORCA LIFT and/or Subsidized Annual Pass applications and renewals at (800) 756-5437.
If you don’t have money on your card, you add funds at an ORCA Retail Outlet or you can purchase a mobile ticket through the Transit GO ticket app.
Metro has shortened hours for our Pass Sales Office and Lost & Found from Tuesday to Thursday. Both will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during those days, although we encourage customers to stay home if at all possible due to extreme weather. These offices will be closed on Friday, Dec. 31, in observance of the holiday.
Note: For Lost & Found, customers can call Metro Customer Service at 206-553-3000. In-person service is by appointment only, so please call first.
The National Weather Service forecast says freezing temperatures and possible snow accumulation will continue for the next several days for the greater Puget Sound area. Metro is committed to providing transit service even in inclement weather. Customers should be prepared for possible travel disruptions and are encouraged to monitor weather reports.
Tips and tricks for riders
- During this period of adverse weather, we encourage people to avoid traveling if possible.
- Riders who intend to use Metro’s services Tuesday, Dec. 28, should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options.
- Posted timetables on Metro’s Schedules and Maps page are a good point of reference for the 60 ESN routes operating, but unforeseen road and weather conditions may result in delays or unplanned reroutes.
- Customers should be aware that Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps will not reflect ESN service and will not be accurate for planning itineraries on ESN days. However, once riders know which ESN route they want to use, other Puget Sound Trip Planner features, such as maps, bus stop locations, and timetables for ESN routes, are valid. Puget Sound Trip Planner and other apps are still accurate for planning trips or getting schedules for regular service days.
- Masks are required on all public transportation.
Tools to help riders plan winter trips
- Visit MetroWinter.com for information on how to travel during snow and other difficult weather. If snow routes are implemented, riders can click on the regional map to access status updates on their routes.
- Transit Alerts: Riders should sign up or update route subscriptions to receive Transit Alerts via text and email for their bus routes. Routes can change quickly depending on snow accumulations.
- Real-time updates show whether a bus trip is operating when it’s due to depart or if it’s been canceled.
- Text for Departures allows riders to text their bus stop number to 62550 and receive the next bus trips headed their way or a cancellation notice. Riders can save 62550 in their phones in advance. Metro’s real-time departure information can become less accurate during a storm and rough road conditions.
- “Next departures” is available on both the Puget Sound Trip Planner webpage and the Puget Sound Trip Planner App. Riders can check these sites to see whether their trip is reporting its position and estimated arrival time.
- Masks are still required on public transportation, with the added benefit of keeping your face warm in winter weather.
- Follow @kcmetrobus on Twitter to see the latest travel tips and service information.